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Rethinking Retirement

21 Mar

Retirement to most people today means the end of working a job and living off of portfolio income (401k), a pension and social security. This concept, which is fairly new, is already obsolete. To understand this let’s examine its origins and progression.

Traditionally, in early America (from its founding until the mid 1880’s), when a family member was too old or physically unable to work, the other members of the extended family took care of him. However, four important demographic changes happened in America beginning in the mid-1880s that rendered the traditional systems of economic security obsolete: The Industrial Revolution, rapid urbanization, the disappearance of the extended family and a marked increase in life expectancy.

The Industrial Revolution transformed the majority of working people from self-employed agricultural workers into wage earners working for large industrial corporations. This meant mass migrations to urban centers where the work was to be found. In the crowded urban environments, family sizes were forced to get smaller. The cost of housing, clothing and feeding an extended family (grandparents, parents and children) was undoable in the new economy. This fostered the creation of the “nuclear family” (parents and children only) which most of us are accustomed to seeing today.

The final significant change happened in the early decades of the 20th century. Better health care, sanitation, and the development of public health programs, led Americans to live significantly longer. Between 1900 and 1930, average life spans increased by 10 years. This was the most rapid increase in life spans in recorded human history.

The net result of these historical demographic and social changes was that the traditional strategies for the providing for those no longer able to work quickly dissolved.

The decade of the 1930s found America facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history. Millions of people were unemployed, and the majority of the elderly lived in dependency. The traditional sources of economic security: assets, labor, family, and charity had all failed. Radical calls for action were being made by the public. President Franklin Roosevelt responded by signing into law The Social Security Act on August 14, 1935 to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement.

Fast forward to today… Four major demographic changes have made that system obsolete as we emerge from the second worst economic crisis in US history. Change from the Industrial Age to the new Innovation Age, globalization, further dissolving of the nuclear family, and another marked increase in life expectancy.

The loss of manufacturing jobs, the increase of exportation of jobs, and importation of goods from the global economy has changed the face of the job market forever. Companies no longer promise work until retirement and a pension plan for your twilight years. Nuclear families have gotten even smaller and young people are more detached from their parents as this society celebrates individuality and independence over cooperative living. Finally, as medical technology improves, people are now outliving the age for which social security, their pensions and portfolios were designed to last.

The solution… the whole concept of retirement should be reevaluated. You only retire from a job (earned income) – especially a job you don’t enjoy. There is no retirement from passive income sources. With passive income sources that pay dividends (real estate, securities and business ownership), you work hard to acquire the asset and then it continues to pay you continuously until the market changes and it can no longer provide positive cash flow. You don’t retire; you simply shift your resources into a new cash producing asset.

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Consumers Cutting Back? Are You Kidding?

8 May


By Peter Coy on May 07, 2012

Corrects Thornberg’s first name in 3rd paragraph.

Conventional wisdom says the economy is weak because consumers, constrained by excessive debt, are cutting back. That is wrong on two counts. I have a chart for each.

As the first chart shows, Americans aren’t cutting back a whole lot. Personal consumption as a share of gross domestic product is floating along at the highest it has been since at least 1948, at 71.1 percent. For comparison, it was way down at 62 percent as recently as the early 1980s.

This inconvenient truth—inconvenient for the “Americans are retrenching” camp, anyway—was pointed out to me by Christopher Thornberg, the founding partner of Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics. He and I were guests on KQED’s Forum radio program on May 4, along with Laura Tyson, the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business professor who was President Bill Clinton’s chief economic adviser. Here’s a link to the Forum podcast.

Personal consumption includes spending on imports, by the way, so some of the dollars leak overseas. It also includes almost all health-care spending, about half of which is under the control of the government, as my ex-boss, former BusinessWeek Chief Economist Michael Mandel, always likes to say.

It’s not that consumers are on a shopping spree. It’s that the other sectors are even weaker. Investment is sluggish because businesses are pessimistic about growth; direct government spending (not including transfer payments such as Social Security) is lagging because state and local governments are cutting back; and net exports are negative (i.e., we’re running a trade deficit, albeit one that has shrunk a bit).

Bottom line: As weak as they are, consumers are the engine of this sluggish recovery.

The second chart shows a key reason consumers are not cutting back: They don’t need to. This shows the Federal Reserve’s measure of financial obligations. It’s defined as the ratio of debt payments and other fixed charges to disposable personal income. The fixed charges include car lease payments, rent, homeowners’ insurance, and property tax payments.

Extremely low interest rates are making Americans’ debt sustainable. The burden will increase when rates start to rise, but presumably that won’t happen until the economy is getting stronger and incomes go up.

Says Thornberg: “There’s this ongoing argument that we’re in a painful period of deleveraging. No, we’re not, because there’s no reason at these interest rates for anyone to have to deleverage.”

Peer-to-Peer Job Sites Inspire Micro-Entrepreneurs

12 Feb

By Darren Dahl

Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:32pm EST

(Reuters) – Chris Mok, like many Americans over the past few years, lost his job in the wake of the Great Recession.

While Wok, 46, diligently sent out resumes trying to replace his Macy’s marketing job he lost in 2009, he also kicked in to help his wife, Isha, run Hi’iaka, her Hawaiian-themed florist shop in San Francisco.

It was early last summer, when many florist businesses see a bump in business from graduations, that Wok first heard about a site called Task Rabbit, where people can post jobs of any just about any kind – such as helping with a move, painting a room or even running an errand – or bid to work on a job posted by someone else via computer or on the go with a GPS-enabled smartphone. Mok suggested that his wife try the site out as a way to hire on a few extra hands for the busy season.

His wife’s experience with Task Rabbit went so well that Wok, who hadn’t worked outside of his wife’s business in about nine months, came to a realization: why couldn’t he earn some extra money bidding on jobs himself?

“I hit the ground running and have been working almost seven days a week since July,” says Mok, who now makes about $3,500 a month tackling everything from handyman repairs to hanging whiteboards and assembling Ikea furniture for the burgeoning number of startup companies in his area.

“It feels great to be your own boss and to pick and choose the jobs you take on.”

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the hot button political issue these days is the nation’s unemployment rate. In January, the U.S. jobless rate was 8.3 percent, on its way down from last summer’s rate of 9.1 percent.

That’s why the rise of online marketplaces, so-called peer-to-peer job sites like Task Rabbit are so exciting. They promise to generate new employment opportunities, or let just about anyone earn some extra income.

“We’re enabling people to invest in and engage with folks in their community in a way that I think we’ve forgotten,” says Leah Brusque, a former programmer with IBM who founded Task Rabbit in 2008, just as the recession was unfolding. “And we’ve done that by turning them into micro-entrepreneurs.”

Online job sites have been around a while, of course, and even sites like e-lance and oDesk have become viable markets to outsource highly-skilled jobs such as programming, design and writing tasks.

But what makes Task Rabbit and the growing number of others like it such as Coffee & Power and Zaarly different is that their jobs vary widely and often involve face-to-face interactions in the real world. Skillshare, for instance, is a site based in New York City that enables people to teach or attend a class on just about anything. A recent search revealed classes ranging from how to eat healthy or how to crochet an Alpaca rug – not online, but in person.

“We are changing the way people think about doing business with the people around them,” says Bo Fishback, formerly the vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, who founded Zaarly in March 2011. “We’re making it possible to ask for and get anything, in real time, from the people around you.

Mechanically, most of these sites work in similar fashion. People can post jobs, or bid on them, while the site handles the payment process – usually taking a small percentage fee of the transaction for itself. Both parties involved in a transaction can then rate each other after the job has been completed. At Task Rabbit, which has some 3,000 registered bidders, some $4 million of activity is reported every month, which, while impressive, is still a sliver of the estimated $473 billion earned by freelancers in 2010.

Those kinds of numbers have given high-profile investors reasons to take notice. Zaarly, for instance, reeled in $1 million from a group of investors that included Ashton Kutcher (while also adding Meg Whitman as a board member). Similarly, Coffee & Power, which was founded by Philip Rosedale, the creator of the virtual online world game SecondLife, recently raised about $1 million from investors like Jeff Bezos.

“Our mission has been to find out how you get people who are interested in working for each other to cluster and find each other in the real world,” says Rosedale, whose business plan combines an online market with currently three physical locations – upscale coffee shops in San Francisco, Santa Monica and, soon, Portland, Oregon – where people can meet and make a deal.

There are, of course, critics who point to the fact that it can be difficult if not impossible for someone to earn a living bidding on $100 jobs. But, if the number of people flocking to these sites to not just bid on jobs but also post them continues, we might just see a change in the concept of what a job is.

“We’re still early in the game, but we think we’re reinventing the concept of how we all go about working,” says Rosedale.

2012 Assessments for Recession Driven Riches

30 Dec

This article is an excerpt from the book, Recession Driven Riches by Heru Ur Nekhet, national Renowned Rags to Riches Guru.

Chapter 5
Make An Honest Assessment Without Judgment

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
-Will Rogers

“Don’t succumb to excuses. Go back to the job of making the corrections and forming habits that will make your goal possible.”
-Vince Lombardi

Despite the appearance of wealth created by the mass accumulation of material goods during the last boom (homes, cars, electronics, clothes, etc.), most Americans got into the habit of living on borrowed money. Still in denial and oftentimes overwhelmed by the gravity of their financial situation, the majority of those people now find themselves deep in debt with no feasible plan to get their heads back above water. Proper realignment requires you to perform an honest assessment of your current skills, confidence, resources, mental and physical health, time management, asset values, and soundness of potential business ventures or investments. It is easy to minimize or exaggerate your financial situation if you are judgmental about how you got into the situation.

In order to effectively create a plan of action to fix your current situation, you have to know exactly how much income you have from all sources (job, investments, business, etc.) as well as exactly how much money is being spent in that same amount of time. It sounds simple, however most people never take an accurate accounting of how much money passes through their hands each month or year. Be careful not to overlook any income or expense no matter how small it might seem. Even the small expenses add up over time. If you don’t want to use the old fashion pencil and paper method to create a balance sheet, you can use an online expense tracking website such as Wesabe.com or Mint.com.

It is important that you also check the current value of any assets that you currently own. These assets include your home value, investment property value, securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, etc.) and any other holdings you might have. Oftentimes we invest in assets and just forget about monitoring them to make sure they are still worth keeping. For real estate values you can check propertyshark.com or zillow.com. For securities you can check morningstar.com to see if they are profitable. For other assets such as gold or silver you can go to goldprice.org, but for collectables you should get a professional appraisal.

How do you know if an asset is worth keeping? The answer is simple, if it is currently performing at a rate of return that meets your current needs, then it is worth keeping. If it is no longer performing to your standard and the prospect of a turn around is not imminent, then cut your losses and get rid of it. Let’s start with your home. If your current home value is less than the purchase price, then you are paying on a mortgage for the next few decades far more than the price will ever be again. You are financing something that will probably never be worth what you are paying. This raises a couple of issues. First, it will never gain equity so you cannot borrow against it. Second, you will never be able to sell it and recoup the money you put into it. If you have no desire to ever borrow against it (refinance) or to sell it, and you have no desire to take advantage of the fact that you can now get more home for less than what you are currently paying, then you don’t have to do anything. Enjoy your overpriced home.

After taking an assessment of your current assets, you must seriously evaluate what resources you currently have to work with. These resources might include cash reserves, creditworthiness, insurance, professional advisors (accountant, broker, financial consultant, attorney, etc.), support from family or friends, knowledge, skills, etc. If you find that you are lacking necessary resources, then part of your realignment plan must include gathering needed resources.

Some Things to Assess

  • Debts – credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc.

  • Investments – real estate, stocks, bonds, IRA, TDA, 401(K), bank account, Certificate of Deposit (CD), gold, collectibles, etc.

  • Asset Values – real estate equity, gold appreciation, stock prices, collectible value, etc.

  • Income Sources – job, business ownership, dividends, rental income, etc.

  • Relationships – partnerships, family, friends, dependants, etc. Are they supportive or detrimental?

  • Skills – relevance and market value of skills, obsolescence of skills, etc.

  • Resources – time, cash flow, credit, partnerships, professional team, etc.

  • Expenses (liabilities) – basic living expenses, appropriateness of expenses, where and how to minimize expenses, etc.

  • Insurance – appropriateness of coverage, lack of coverage, excessive coverage, cost of coverage, etc.

  • Taxes – appropriate shelters, deductions, structure, etc.

  • Information Sources –news sources, opportunities, networking events, clubs, organizations, advisors, mentors, etc.

Get You Copy of Recession Driven Riches Now at http://www.recessiondrivenriches.com/

Young, jobless and dangerous

6 Sep
Sept. 6, 2011, 12:00 a.m. EDT

Why the young jobless will ruin your portfolio

Commentary: Wealth is frozen between idle generations

 By David Weidner, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) – Happy Idle Labor Day.

For most Americans yesterday was a day to exhale. Not only do they have jobs, they had reason to celebrate: a paid day off.

But for more than 14 million Americans, Monday was just another day in the soul-crushing reality of unemployment. If you add in the truly despondent, the people who have simply quit looking for work, the number is roughly 23 million.

Jobs data spells bad news

Market Beat’s Mark Gongloff explains the disappointing jobs report numbers and how this will affect our economy, in the Markets Hub.

This is a national tragedy. Hardest hit are the Americans who can least afford to be out of work. The recession has hit minorities hard. The unemployment rate is 16.7% among blacks and 11.3% among hispanics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the work force is actually growing and yet more able-bodied and able-minded workers have nothing to do.

But there’s a bigger trend we should be worried about. What jobs exist are held by older Americans. The unemployment rate for teenagers is 25.4%. For younger workers aged 20 to 24, it’s 14.8%. Compare that to the 55-or-older category which is at 6.6% and hasn’t topped 7.5% since the recession began.

At this rate, the post-Baby Boom generations won’t need Social Security. After all, you need a job in order to contribute to payroll taxes and earn a return for retirement.

In other words, today’s younger Americans are bearing the brunt of the recession. But not only that, the economic slump is stealing important work experience from generations X, Y and the millennials.

In addition, now comes a troubling poll by Inc./WomanTrend that shows the financial and psychological toll this recession has taken on young Americans.

• More than a quarter, 27%, are delaying going back to school or getting more training.

• 28% are delaying saving for retirement.

• More than one out of five, 23%, are delaying starting a family and 18% are putting off getting married.

• And don’t expect younger Americans to bail out their parent’s housing mess. Nearly half, 44%, say they’re going to delay buying a home.

The upshot of the study, which included a margin of error of plus or minus 4%, is that the younger end of the work force is stalled — in numbers that suggest that even those who have jobs aren’t optimistic.

This should be raising alarm bells in Washington and on Wall Street too. It’s not only a matter of national policy, it’s an economic one. The leading edge of the Baby Boom is retiring this year. That means the primary holders of stocks and bonds and other securities will need to sell those securities for income.

Without a flourishing younger America, those securities aren’t going to have willing buyers. It’s a death spiral of market economics.

That means we’re all going to get poorer: young people with no money, older Americans with a bunch of securities they can’t sell. It’s going to get worse over time.

That is, of course, if recent trends hold up. As mentioned, more older Americans — those 55 or older — are working relative to other generations. Fearful of not being able to make ends meet in their golden years, they’re not letting go of their jobs.

By holding on, of course, they’re not passing the baton to younger Americans. So you can see the cycle: Older people keep working. More younger Americans are unemployed. The wealth is hoarded by the old folks. The wealth diminishes in value without anyone (younger Americans) to whom they can sell it.

That’s why we need a broad systemic fix to the system that focuses on getting younger Americans back or into the work force. Tax incentives for hiring younger workers is one obvious way. Government-sponsored work programs to build infrastructure is another.

Government and big business aren’t going to solve all of our problems. We need to ask younger and older Americans to accept less, be more entrepreneurial, be more resourceful. Both generations seem to be in a funk. Both are so worried about the future, they’re paralyzed.

And this is the real tragedy, one we don’t talk about. We’re all afraid. The problem is we’re not doing anything about it. Young people aren’t taking risks. Older people aren’t passing on the wealth.

When you’re stuck in idle, you’re not going to get anywhere.

David Weidner covers Wall Street for MarketWatch.

High Performance … How Companies Can Stay Ahead of the S-Curve

24 Aug

Successful firms don’t just go from good to great, they do it again and again by managing in tandem today’s business and tomorrow’s

by Catherine Bolgar

What beats the taste of success? Tasting it over and over.

A company finds a winner with a product. It takes off, then gains momentum. Sometimes companies make the ride up last longer by introducing spin-offs or entering new markets.

Unfortunately, at some point, sales level off: markets become saturated, competitors launch even better products and tastes move on. The overall sales trajectory, therefore, resembles an S.

High-performance businesses—the ones that consistently lead their industries over many business cycles—jump from one S-curve to another again and again. How they do that is the subject of a new book, “Jumping the S-Curve: How to Beat the Growth Cycle, Get on Top, and Stay There,” by Paul Nunes and Tim Breene, leaders of the High Performance Business Research program at Accenture, the global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. The program was born in 2003 to determine exactly how some companies become high performers, through good times and bad, while others lag behind or fail.

Mr. Nunes and Mr. Breene directed the analysis of the performance of more than 800 companies around the world in dozens of sectors, most over a 10-year span. They identified key differences in the companies that successfully make the jump, versus those that peak, then stall and decline. According to Accenture’s research, high performers:

resolve the conflicting needs of today and tomorrow—trading some of today’s performance for tomorrow’s gain
build a hothouse of talent to nurture employees, which then attracts more people with skills and vision, ultimately creating a talent surplus
change top management while business is still thriving
pursue “big-enough” market insights—ones based on changes in the marketplace that are certain to occur—and sure to shake up the competitive landscape
refuse to scale up for scale’s sake and actively manage the downsides of scale at every turn

The challenge is difficult. The research showed that companies that failed “were not illogical,” says Mr. Breene, the former chief strategy and corporate development officer of Accenture. “They acted reasonably. You can look at why the things they did each year seemed to be the strategically correct response at the time.”
Today and Tomorrow

High-performance businesses juggle the contradictory needs of the present and the future. “While the core part of the business might be working to eliminate failure and error, you have to have parts of the business where intelligent failure is accepted. Failure allows you to get insights and innovations and breakthroughs,” Mr. Breene says.

High performers fix what doesn’t seem to be broken yet. The ride up the S-curve can be exhilarating, but high performers don’t just revel in the success. They use it to prepare for their next act, and they actively manage the cresting of their S-curves.

Companies can try to predict when they will reach the revenue peak on their current S-curve by gauging and forecasting market saturation. But there’s always the danger that disruption will strike—a competitor unveils a new product, or technology makes a leap forward—and the curve’s life will be shortened.

Incremental innovations are useful for extending an S-curve and bringing in revenue to fund the next S, but high performers are “remarkably committed to breakthrough innovation,” Mr. Breene says. “They have market-changing ambition. They look farther out. They are happy working on seven-to-10-year time frames.”

High-performance businesses take a long-term view for talent, too. They understand that it’s not enough to “optimize” the workforce. That’s why they turn themselves into hothouses of talent, where they can give people room to grow. They glean insights from employees at all levels and they give them stretch assignments to learn new skills.

“High performers have much deeper planning and talent-management systems,” says Mr. Nunes, the executive director of research at the Accenture Institute for High Performance.

UPS has long been a “hothouse.” For example, it has a tradition of promoting people from within, says Kurt Kuehn, chief financial officer at the Atlanta-based logistics company who himself started as a holiday-season driver more than 30 years ago. “Because we do focus so much on employees as lifetime assets, we have this incredible residual base of talented people”—what Mr. Nunes and Mr. Breene refer to as a “talent surplus.”

A talent surplus makes a company blossom with innovation and creativity. Employees are not just responding to the challenges of the moment but are thinking about how the company can do something better or new.

“As we create a new S-curve, we need an infusion of new talent,” says Mr. Kuehn. “We mix maybe two parts old skills and one part new skills.”

High-performance businesses like UPS become magnets for “serious talent.”
New Strategy—New Leadership

High performers also constantly groom and challenge the upper ranks to prepare new teams to take over when new strategies require. That means not just the CEO but the entire C-suite.

“In order for the company to evolve ahead of the curve, the top team has to evolve first,” Mr. Nunes says.

UPS has transformed itself through many S-curves. Founded in 1907 as a messenger service in Seattle, it began serving more kinds of businesses, then spread geographically, then added air services, international deliveries and logistics.

UPS’s chief executives have had tenures in the four-to-seven-year range—close to the typical S-curve cycle. There’s no bell that rings when a CEO’s time is up, but since the company’s CEO comes from within, he already has been implementing his vision and strategy even before taking the helm, according to Mr. Kuehn.
Early but Not Too

While high-performance businesses think big, they aren’t always first with an idea. Zenith successfully moved from one S-curve—in radio—to another—in TV—but stumbled as it focused on high-definition TV in the 1980s, well ahead of the market.

By contrast, Porsche of Germany was far from first to market a sport-utility vehicle. Porsche tailored its Cayenne to its customer base, offering a unique SUV, rather than a me-too vehicle. It gained traction gradually—the 911 sports car line remained the best-seller during the Cayenne’s first year. Eventually the Cayenne became the company’s top seller—Porsche took its time to get everything right before scaling up.

The secret at the core of high-performance businesses’ successful market moves, however, is something the authors call a “big-enough market insight,” or BEMI. High performers put wind in the sails of their strategies by moving in alignment with a major market shift. Zenith’s insight was perhaps too big and too soon. Porsche’s insight was recognizing that demographic shifts meant growing demand for SUVs was more than a fad, and that a portion of that fast-growing market would favor a company that could deliver in an SUV everything a sports car lover would want.

High-performance businesses go to extraordinary lengths to understand their customers. Procter & Gamble even sends researchers to live with customers to observe how they use products and to reveal unmet needs.

While tending to core businesses, high performers also prepare for their next S-curve with an “edge-centric” strategy. That is, they pick up insights from looking at the periphery of market evolution and customer demand, often by keeping better tabs on what is happening on the periphery of their own organization.

“While it can look like you’re taking your eye off the ball, moving off into uncharted territory, actually you’re keeping your eye on the ball by searching where the best ideas are most likely to be found,” says Mr. Nunes.

Accenture’s Mr. Nunes and Mr. Breene also point out that size doesn’t correlate with success. In picking out companies that maintained high performance over the long term, they noticed that the winners were often midsize contenders in their fields.

“As you scale, it gets more difficult to sustain the characteristics of high performance,” Mr. Breene explains. “You get more complexity and that leads to a tendency toward process, policy and rules. The emphasis shifts toward incremental innovation. The vitality that made the business great in the first place begins to die as it becomes more like a machine and less like a living organism.”

Adds Mr. Nunes: “Everybody wants growth, but scaling, size and complexity tend to drive out headroom. You need headroom to jump the S-curve.”

For more information:
Accenture
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You Can’t Be Lazy and Still Want to Change Your Life for the Better

1 Jun

If you’ve read this blog before, or watched my videos or even more so have come to my classes, you know that what I’m about to tell you about really pisses me off.  In a survey taken a few months ago,it was found that most people that are unhappy at their jobs to very little to change their situation.  This is a behavior that leaves me dumbfounded.

For my new readers, I became fed up with my lack of financial success – and increasing debt – more than a decade ago.  After stumbling through bad business ideas and deals, I plunked down and finally discovered the keys to my now continued success.  But even before I found those keys, I declared to my job that in two years (this is in 20o2) that I would be leaving –retiring – and that they should find my replacement.  In that two years I cleared up my $45,000 worth of debt and soon after became a millionaire.  I realized that not everyone has my fortitude, and so I founded Insiders Group Inc. to teach others how to do what I did and am glad to have made others very successful in their own right.  But enough about me, this is about laziness.

If all you do is wallow in your depression, your situation will never change.  Everyone isn’t an entrepreneur, true, but anyone – given they seek the knowledge out to do so – can make something better of themselves for themselves, their families and their communities.

Unhappy Workers Do Little About It, Says Survey

by Kyle Stock

from FINS Technology – The Wall St. Journal

Griping about your job is one thing; doing something about it is something else entirely.

When it comes to hunting for a better position elsewhere, most of us don’t bother, according to a survey released this morning by Accenture. Almost half of the 3,400 workers questioned by the technology consulting firm said they were dissatisfied with their jobs, but only 30% of respondents had any plans to switch employers.

The more common strategy was to build up experience and look for a better opportunity in-house.

“There’s still a sense of commitment to take action with their current employer,” said LaMae Allen deJongh, the author of the study and Accenture’s managing director for human capital and diversity. “We interpret that as an opportunity.”

And while feeling underpaid was the biggest complaint, only about half of those surveyed had ever asked for or negotiated a pay raise.

If companies aren’t in a position to hand out raises, deJongh said they should offer promotions, greater responsibility and flexibly work arrangements to keep employees happy.

There is some evidence that job dissatisfaction is running particularly high. A recent report by the Conference Board, a nonprofit, New York-based research firm, found that 55% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs, the highest level in 22 years. Respondents also said the best part of their work as the company of colleagues and the commute.

No doubt, much of the recent discontent is tied to the economy at large. Those still in the workforce are likely doing more and earning less — or at least not much more — than they were a few years ago. And many are likely slogging away in positions they have little interest in.

Then again, there are almost 14 million people still looking for work — something to consider next time you feel like griping about your paycheck.